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Problems with patenting WI-38


The WI-26 and WI-38 cell lines
Leonard Hayflick Scientist
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The reason I mentioned that WI-38 is the one that's used for this... for vaccine production in subsequent years is that the first strain that we made after losing the first 25, and that we named... I named WI-26, I thought I had produced enough of WI-26 in respect to frozen ampoules to supply what at that time I thought would be the world's requirements. Because it was then apparent that these cells were going to be widely used. But I was in error and failed to lay down as many ampoules as I should have, because of that miscalculation. And the next strain that was useful was WI-38 and I will explain how those... how WI-38 was developed, because that's critical for a large part of the story to follow.

Leonard Hayflick (b. 1928), the recipient of several research prizes and awards, including the 1991 Sandoz Prize for Gerontological Research, is known for his research in cell biology, virus vaccine development, and mycoplasmology. He also has studied the ageing process for more than thirty years. Hayflick is known for discovering that human cells divide for a limited number of times in vitro (refuting the contention by Alexis Carrel that normal body cells are immortal), which is known as the Hayflick limit, as well as developing the first normal human diploid cell strains for studies on human ageing and for research use throughout the world. He also made the first oral polio vaccine produced in a continuously propogated cell strain - work which contributed to significant virus vaccine development.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: WI-28, WI-26, cell strain, ampule, vaccine production

Duration: 59 seconds

Date story recorded: July 2011

Date story went live: 08 August 2012